I visited Arunachal Pradesh recently for birding, and was enthralled by its beauty. The dense green mountains looked as if they were playing hide and seek with the moving clouds. The place was alive with the continuous chirping of birds. It was like being in paradise. We traveled from Nameri to Dirang and stopped at several places for birding. What really disturbed me was the pile of garbage that we saw in most places. Of the many places that I have visited, I noticed that the garbage situation in Arunachal Pradesh is very bad. It was our third day in Arunachal and we were to explore Sela Pass which is at 13,700 ft. We were busy shooting Snow Pigeons when our driver pointed us towards something like a mongoose moving in the garbage pile. That is when I observed that the mountain slope had a huge dump and a pair of Yellow-throated Martens were busy sniffing the garbage. It was painful to see those wild animals having to feed on waste. The Sela Pass connects Tawang with Dirang and Tezpur / Guwahati. It is not a tourist attraction, but yet we could see so much filth. It was disturbing to see garbage filled with plastic bottles and non-biodegradable packaging material. Many of us travel because we love nature, wildlife, mountains, birds and sometimes, just for the sheer joy of traveling. If this is true, then we should all take the responsibility to preserve the pristine nature as well. We should all stop buying bottled water when we travel and instead, use water purifiers that are easily available in market. If each of us makes this conscious effort, our next generation will also be able to enjoy nature!
Yellow-throated Marten in Garbage, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh
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Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
No matter how remote a place is in India, garbage seems to be the ever present reality. The impact of plastic waste on wildlife and habitats is horrendous, and needs to be urgently tackled.